Those who crave the delicate nuances of the Canadian wilderness but don’t want to venture out into the cold for themselves would do well to check out the new video for Stephanie Rose’s single “Luxury,” a prime cut from her EP Sprout, out now everywhere country music can be streamed. “Luxury” is a song about enjoying the rural treasures that come with a day marked by little more than a trip out to collect firewood for a lazy night by the fire. The video is as packed with tangible textures as the music is, as is the case with all six songs found on Sprout.
Rose utilizes many weapons in the melodic assault she levies in her brand new EP, chief among them her moving vocal, which is constantly a dominant force to be reckoned with. “Luxury” is actually one of the only tracks that doesn’t amplify her singing well above the rest of the players in the mix. “Crushed,” “Same Old Same Old” and “Rusted Love” are built around her countrified swagger exclusively, driving engrossing harmonies home via the strength of her palate. As unbelievable as it may sound, there’s not a doubt in my mind that she would be just as spellbinding were there no guitars or drums to accompany her lyrics.
Sprout is short and sweet in every way; be it the raw production value or the clean cut structures of the songs, nothing about this extended play is overdone or indulgent in the slightest. The title track is so meticulously arranged that we’re able to decipher where every stitch of the main melody is coming from, and even though there’s a lot of action going on beneath the bassline, it’s never presented to us with any sort of aggression. Rose is a patient songwriter and performer, and that patience yields some really awesome results in all of these songs.
To me, the only way that you would ever get a more authentic Stephanie Rose experience outside of listening to this record would be to see her live and in person, as this master mix is so wonderfully generous with the emotionality and passion in her play. We don’t have to try and piece together lyrical narratives with musical ones; if anything, the bonding between the two is so tight and unbreakable that it takes a straightforward video like “Luxury” to clarify their artistry any further than it already is. This is a far cry from the woefully unfocused fodder of her peers in the Nashville establishment, who have left a lot to be desired in the last couple of years.
A fun record from a legit talent, Sprout and its featured single “Luxury” are winners in my book, and if you love a solid country record with a sophisticated pop edge, you’ll likely agree. Canadian singer/songwriters have been leading a new wave of alternative country artists that bear more of a resemblance to the acoustic folkies and roots rockers of the 1970’s than they do the country-pop patriots of the 90’s and early 2000’s, but Rose seems to have found an interesting balance between the two. Her sound is very unique, and I can’t wait to hear what she does with it next.